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Compatibility Between Monetary and Fiscal Policy Under EMU

  • Campbell leith
  • Simon Wren-Lewis

The potential importance of fiscal policy in influencing inflation has recently been highlighted, following Woodford (1998), under the heading of the ‘Fiscal Theory of the Price Level’ (FTPL). Some authors have suggested that this theory provides a rationale for the Pact for Stability and Growth as a necessary condition for the ECB pursuing a policy of price stability. In this paper, we relax the assumptions underpinning the FTPL by developing a two country open economy model, where each country has overlapping generations of non-Ricardian consumers who supply labour to imperfectly competitive firms which can only change their prices infrequently. We examine the case where the two countries have formed a monetary union, but where the fiscal authorities remain independent. We show that the fiscal response required to ensure solvency is greater when consumers are not infinitely lived, and that although this allows for some compensating behaviour between governments, in general, both fiscal policies must remain solvent if the ECB is to aggressively target inflation. We also show that the monetary authority can abandon its active targeting of inflation to ensure the solvency of at most one fiscal authority. Any other combination of policies will either result in price level indeterminacy and/or indefinite transfers of wealth between the two economies. Finally, in a series of simulations we show that fiscal shocks have limited impact on output and inflation provided the fiscal authorities meet the (weak) requirements of fiscal solvency. However, when monetary policy is forced to abandon its active targeting of inflation, then fiscal shocks have a much greater impact on both output and inflation.

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Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 2001_15.

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Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2001_15
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  1. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 624-60, June.
  2. Dupor, Bill, 2000. "Exchange rates and the fiscal theory of the price level," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 613-630, June.
  3. Leith, Campbell & Malley, Jim, 2005. "Estimated general equilibrium models for the evaluation of monetary policy in the US and Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 2137-2159, November.
  4. Matthew B. Canzoneri & Robert E. Cumby & Behzad T. Diba, 2001. "Is the Price Level Determined by the Needs of Fiscal Solvency?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1221-1238, December.
  5. Hamid Faruqee & Douglas Laxton & Steven Symansky, 1997. "Government Debt, Life-Cycle Income, and Liquidity Constraints: Beyond Approximate Ricardian Equivalence," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(3), pages 374-382, September.
  6. Leith, Campbell & Wren-Lewis, Simon, 2000. "Interactions between Monetary and Fiscal Policy Rules," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C93-108, March.
  7. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark & Lopez-Salido, J. David, 2001. "European inflation dynamics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1237-1270.
  8. Woodford, Michael, 1995. "Price-level determinacy without control of a monetary aggregate," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-46, December.
  9. Anil K. Kashyap, 1990. "Sticky prices: new evidence from retail catalogs," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 112, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  15. Michael Woodford, 1996. "Control of the Public Debt: A Requirement for Price Stability?," NBER Working Papers 5684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Government size and macroeconomic stability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 117-132, January.
  17. Taylor, John B., 1993. "Discretion versus policy rules in practice," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 195-214, December.
  18. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1998. "An Optimization-Based Econometric Framework for the Evaluation of Monetary Policy: Expanded Version," NBER Technical Working Papers 0233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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  24. Canzoneri, Matthew B & Cumby, Robert E & Diba, Behzad T, 2001. "Fiscal Discipline and Exchange Rate Systems," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 667-90, October.
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